SAN FRANCISCO — Northern California residents are bracing for gusty winds, rain and snow at higher elevations, as a series of storms gets set to touch down.
The rain and snow should begin falling Wednesday and continue through Sunday, according to the National Weather Service. Wind gusts could reach as high as 70 mph in coastal areas.
“There’s an atmospheric river coming directly toward the coast,” National Weather Service meteorologist Charles Bell told the San Francisco Chronicle.
A flood watch has been issued for the Sacramento Valley, where areas that were burned in recent wildfires are particularly vulnerable to mudslides. There is also the potential for urban and small stream flooding along the North Coast, where meteorologists say some areas could see as much as 12 inches of rain over the five-day period.
In eastern Butte and western Plumas counties, rainfall could exceed 20 inches, according to the National Weather Service. The Sierras could see as much as 2 feet of snow.
California’s Emergency Management Agency warned of potential power outages from downed trees and encouraged residents to make preparations, including clearing rain gutters and trimming tree branches.
Mark Ghilarducci, the agency’s secretary, said in a statement that the agency was monitoring the storms and was ready to assist local response efforts.
Still, other officials said they were not too worried at this point in the season.
“This would be the (season’s) first significant, really wet storm over Northern California,” Jeanine Jones with the state Department of Water Resources told the Sacramento Bee.
There is room in reservoirs for additional water, she said, and the storms would replace soil moisture.